Exodus 32 contains the story of the molten calf. Moses has gone up on the top of the mountain, to receive from God the Word by which the people are to live. He is gone a long time, and the people become impatient. They come to Aaron and ask him to make of them a god of gold. Aaron collects their gold and “fashioned it with a graving tool, and made a molten calf.”
God sends Moses down the mountain, to see what the people are doing. When he confronts Aaron, the story changes. In describing what happened, Aaron tells it this way, “they gave (the gold) to me, and I threw it into the fire, and there came out this calf.”
We often retell events in a such a way as to minimize our role. It is tempting to re-interpret what happened in order to take some of the bite out of our transgression.
There is no indication as to whether Moses investigated further and discovered the discrepancies between Aaron’s story and the realities of Aaron’s role. If he didn’t, a reader might develop the notion that Aaron “got away with it.” But did he, really?
We turn to God in order to be forgiven. We confess to God in order that our guilt might be taken away. But that confession is empty unless it is open and honest. If we only “sorta confess,” then God can only “sorta forgive.” Aaron does not get away with anything. He misses the opportunity to be absolved.
There is a prayer which reminds us that “God is more willing to forgive than we are willing to ask.” Do not miss the opportunity, to acknowledge your shortcomings, and to receive the assurance that nothing can ever separate us from the love of God.